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Illegitimate

House of Sforza- Pesaro
Pesaro
(extinct in 1519) House of Sforza- Cotignola
Cotignola
(extinct in 1624) House of Sforza-Cesarini

The House of Sforza
House of Sforza
(pronounced [ˈsfɔrtsa]) was a ruling family of Renaissance Italy, based in Milan. They acquired the Duchy of Milan from the previously-ruling Visconti family
Visconti family
in the mid-15th century, and lost it to the Spanish Habsburgs
Spanish Habsburgs
about a century later.

Contents

1 History 2 Sforza rulers of Duchy of Milan 3 Sforza rulers of Pesaro
Pesaro
and Gradara 4 Sforza family tree 5 Notable members 6 In popular culture 7 See also 8 References

History[edit]

A miniature of Muzio Attendolo, fifteenth century

Rising from rural nobility of Lombardy, the Sforza family became condottieri and used this military position to become rulers in Milan. The family governed by force, ruse, and power politics, similar to the Medici
Medici
in Florence. Under their rule, the city-state flourished and expanded. Muzio Attendolo
Muzio Attendolo
(1369–1424), called Sforza (from sforzare, to exert or force), founded the dynasty. A condottiero from Romagna, he served the Angevin kings of Naples
Naples
and became the most successful dynast of the condottieri. His son Francesco I Sforza
Francesco I Sforza
ruled Milan, having acquired the title of Duke of Milan
Duke of Milan
(1450–1466) after the extinction of the Visconti family in 1447. The family also held the seigniory of Pesaro, starting from Muzio Attendolo's second son, Alessandro (1409–1473). The Sforza held Pesaro
Pesaro
until 1519, with the death of Galeazzo. Muzio's third son, Bosio (1411–1476), founded the branch of Santa Fiora, who held the title of count of Cotignola; the Sforza ruled the small county of Santa Fiora
Santa Fiora
in southern Tuscany
Tuscany
until 1624. Members of this family also held important ecclesiastical and political positions in the Papal States, and moved to Rome in 1674, taking the name of Sforza Cesarini. The Sforza became allied with the Borgia
Borgia
family through the arranged marriage (1493–1497) between Lucrezia Borgia
Borgia
and Giovanni (the illegitimate son of Costanzo I of Pesaro).[1] This alliance failed, as the Borgia
Borgia
family annulled the marriage once the Sforza family were no longer needed. In 1499, in the course of the Italian Wars, the army of Louis XII of France
France
took Milan
Milan
from Ludovico Sforza
Ludovico Sforza
(known as Ludovico il Moro, famous for taking Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
into his service). After Imperial German troops drove out the French, Maximilian Sforza, son of Ludovico, became Duke of Milan
Duke of Milan
(1512–1515) until the French returned under Francis I of France
France
and imprisoned him. Sforza rulers of Duchy of Milan[edit]

Map of Italy
Italy
in 1494. Insert shows the Duchy of Milan
Milan
ruled by the Visconti family
Visconti family
and inherited by the Sforzas.

Francesco I 1450–1466 Galeazzo Maria 1466–1476 Gian Galeazzo 1476–1494 Ludovico 1494–1499 Ludovico (restored) 1500 Massimiliano 1512–1515 Francesco II 1521–1535

Sforza rulers of Pesaro
Pesaro
and Gradara[edit]

Alessandro Costanzo I Giovanni Costanzo II Galeazzo

Sforza family tree[edit]

Muzio Sforza
Muzio Sforza
with mistress Lucia da Torsano had 7 illegitimate sons

son Francesco I Sforza
Francesco I Sforza
married Bianca Maria Visconti

son Galeazzo Maria Sforza
Galeazzo Maria Sforza
mistress Lucrezia Landriani

daughter Bianca Maria (1472–1510), second wife of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I son Gian Galeazzo(1469–1494), married Isabella of Naples

son Francesco (II), nominally duke under the regency of Ludovico Maria daughter Bona (1494–1557), second wife of King Sigismund I of Poland[2] daughter Ippolita Maria Sforza
Ippolita Maria Sforza
(1493–1501)

illegitimate daughter Caterina Sforza
Caterina Sforza
married Giovanni de' Medici
Medici
il Popolano

son Ludovico il Moro (the Moor) (1451–1508)

son Ercole Massimiliano son Francesco II (III) Maria illegitimate daughter Bianca Sforza 1483–1496 married to Galeazzo Sanseverino illegitimate son Giovanni Paolo I (1497–1535), marquess of Caravaggio

son Ascanio (1444–1505), Cardinal daughter Ippolita Maria (1446–1484), married king of Alfonso II d'Aragon of Naples

son Alessandro, first lord of Pesaro

son Costanzo I son Galeazzo, last Sforza ruler of Pesaro son Giovanni (1466–1510), first husband of Lucrezia Borgia

son Costanzo II (Giovanni Maria)

Bosio (count of Cotignola, lord of Castell'Arquato)

Notable members[edit]

Name Portrait Relationship to the House of Sforza

Muzio Attendolo

Founder of the House of Sforza

Francesco Sforza

Son of Muzio Attendolo, first Sforza ruler of Milan

Bianca Maria Visconti

Wife of Francesco I Sforza

Galeazzo Maria Sforza

Son of Francesco I Sforza
Francesco I Sforza
and Bianca Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan

Gian Galeazzo Sforza

Son of Galeazzo Maria Sforza

Bona Sforza

Daughter of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Queen of Kingdom of Poland and Grand Princess of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, as the wife of Sigismund I the Old, King of Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania

Bianca Maria Sforza

Daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza
Galeazzo Maria Sforza
and Holy Roman Empress, as the wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor

Anna Sforza

Daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza
Galeazzo Maria Sforza
and wife of Alfonso I d'Este Her successor would be the infamous Lucrezia Borgia

Caterina Sforza

Illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan

Ludovico Sforza

Son of Francesco I Sforza
Francesco I Sforza
and Bianca Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan

Beatrice d'Este

Wife of Ludovico Sforza

Maximilian Sforza

Son of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan

Francesco II Sforza

Son of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan

Giovanni Paolo I Sforza

Illegitimate son of Ludovico Sforza, first Marquess of Caravaggio

In popular culture[edit]

One of the cursed artifacts from Friday the 13th: The Series was the "Sforza Glove", attributed to the original family's possession. Thomas Harris's character Hannibal Lecter
Hannibal Lecter
is a descendant of the House of Sforza. In the anime, manga and book series Trinity Blood, one of the Cardinals and Duchess of Milan
Milan
is named Caterina Sforza. Caterina Sforza
Caterina Sforza
appears as a non-playable character in the video game Assassin's Creed 2
Assassin's Creed 2
and its sequel, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. The Sforza figure prominently in the Showtime series on the Borgia family. The house is mentioned in a song about the Borgia
Borgia
Family in the British edutainment TV show Horrible Histories.

See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to House of Sforza.

List of rulers of Milan Gradara House of Visconti Italian Wars Pesaro

References[edit]

^ "La Signoria degli Sforza". Gradara.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23.  ^ http://www.britannica.com/biography/Sigismund-I-king-of-Poland

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